The Best of Cinema 2015

Of the 43 theatrical releases I saw from 2015, these were my ten favorites.

10. Macbeth

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Highly expressive with bracing performances from Fassbender and Cotillard, the Bard’s bloodiest tale has rarely been this visually ravishing. Full review here.

9. The Wolfpack

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One of the year’s strangest films is also among the most personal, as this documentary explores the blurring of the lines between cinema and reality.

8. Anomalisa

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Charlie Kaufman remains one of contemporary cinema’s most unique minds, and this challenging stop motion animated film penetrates the artifice masking the human experience. Full review here.

7. Bridge of Spies

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Thematic expansion in the Spielberg filmography continues, as the director’s assured control of tone navigates the moral ambiguity of the Cold War. Full review here.

6. The Revenant

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Extraordinary craftsmanship and a fiercely committed DiCaprio anchor Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s story of survival that is equal parts brutal and majestic. Full review here.

5. Sicario

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Denis Villeneuve’s brilliantly directed depiction of the War on Drugs is purposefully frustrating, forgoing politics and instead spearing into a compromised heart of darkness. Full review here.

4. Son of Saul

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Just when you thought there was no fresh perspective left on the Holocaust, this remarkably personal vision reminds us anew of the search for grace in Hell. Full review here.

3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens L to R: Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB-8 Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

The plot may be too reliant on familiarity, but the fantastic new characters and tantalizing thematic avenues are a spirited confirmation that family conflicts are never really resolved, but rather, inherited. Full review here.

2. Inside Out

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

Pixar’s most original film to date not only provides a tremendous sense of discovery, but also is a deeply mature investigation into the equivalence of emotions, all of which serve a vital purpose in our lives. Full review here.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

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Minimalist in narrative but maximalist in execution, George Miller’s blazingly triumphant return to live action filmmaking both emulates and stands shoulder to shoulder with the great silent films, a realization of cinema at its most elemental. Full review here.

Honorable Mentions: Blackhat, The End of the Tour, The Martian, Room, Spotlight

Overrated: Trainwreck

Underrated: Chappie

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~ by romancinema on January 3, 2016.

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